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Laura Kikauka

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Laura Kikauka
Born1963 (age 60–61)
Known forElectronic Artist
Notable workThem Fuckin' Robots

Laura Kikauka (born 1963, Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian installation and performance artist. Kikauka is known for her sculptural installations and performances incorporating found objects and electronics.

Career and work[edit]

Kikauka is known for functioning hand-etched electronic circuits. Her aesthetic has been described as kitsch, while also being compared to self-organizing systems.[1] She has lived and worked in New York City, and for nearly two decades in Berlin. She currently works in Ontario on her long-term project the Funny Farm.[2]

Kikauka's 1996 piece Hairbrain 2000 presented an early "virtual reality" headset based on an analog system of electronic relays activated by ball bearings as the viewer moved their head.[3]

Her 1988 performance collaboration with artist Norman White, Them Fuckin' Robots involved two robots, a "female" one by Kikauka and a "male" one by White. Both robots were assembled and activated in a single day in front of an audience.[4] Kikauka's robot was an abstract, cloud-like assemblage hanging from the ceiling, powered by an electronic sequencer that activated various combinations of found objects. Her robot produced electromagnetic fields that charged the anthropomorphic "male" robot's capacitor, resulting in an eventual robot orgasm.[5]

Kikauka has built two long-term found object installations, both titled Funny Farm, in her homes in Meaford, Ontario, and Berlin, Germany.[6] She has two permanent installations in Germany: one at the Wolfsburg Science Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, the other at the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen in Berlin.[7]

In 1995 the "antipreneurial" one-man artist group Stiletto Studio,s [fr][8] presented LESS function IS MORE fun as a post-neoist special waste sale of interpassive design-defuncts[9] in Kikauka's so-called Spätverkauf installation at the Volksbühne Berlin, which she claimed as one of her projects of Maximalism.[2][10]

With her long-term partner Gordon Monahan, Kikauka organizes the annual Electric Eclectics festival in Ontario.[2] Performers have included artist Tony Conrad, thereminist Dorit Chrysler or theremin and tabla playing foodist Gordon W. [de], who they already had conspirated with for more than a decade, during their Berlin residency on several major projects, like Schmaltzwaldt, Fuzzy Love and Bahute Gemutlischkeit.[11][12][13] Further on artist John Kilduff, electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani, Mary Margaret O'Hara and the Nihilist Spasm Band.[14]

Notable exhibitions and performances[edit]

  • FOR THE LOVE OF GAUD/ Damien's Worst (2008/2009). Berlin, Germany/Toronto, Ontario.
  • Celebration of Failure (2009). SpaceX, Exeter, England.
  • Exactly the Same, but Completely Different (2004). The Power Plant, Toronto.
  • Tune In, Turn On (1997). YYZ, Toronto, Canada
  • Barbie Bumps her Head (1994). Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
  • Machine Storm (1994). Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany
  • The Impacted Nectarine Vexations of Moldy Vinyl Reincarnations (1992). Gargoyle Mechanique, New York City.
  • Tinkerer's Ball (1991). The Exploratorium, San Francisco, California.
  • 5 Horen (1988) performance with Hans Peter Kuhn. Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.


  1. ^ Conrad, Tony (Summer 2007). "A Theory of Emergence". C: International Contemporary Art. No. 94. pp. 10–21. ProQuest 215540397.
  2. ^ a b c de Picciotto, Danielle (6 February 2018). "Laura Kikauka: "Rediscovering the art of slowing down"". Kaput Mag. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Leonardo Gallery: Perverting Technological Correctness". www.leonardo.info. MIT Press. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Arthur Kroker; Marilouise Kroker (5 November 2013). Critical Digital Studies: A Reader, Second Edition. University of Toronto Press. pp. 485–. ISBN 978-1-4426-1466-6.
  5. ^ Wilson, Stephen (2002). Information arts : intersections of art, science, and technology (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT. pp. 444–445. ISBN 9780262731584.
  6. ^ Linden, Liz (2006). The Best Surprise is No Surprise. JRP Ringier. ISBN 978-3-905770-05-6.[page needed]
  7. ^ Langill, Caroline (2009). "Shifting Polarities : Interview with Laura Kikauka". www.fondation-langlois.org. Fondation Langlois. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Stiletto, who describes himself as an ‘antipreneurship expert’ and the ‘head of one-man artist group Stiletto Studio,s’, started Design Vertreib (Vertreib is a made-up term, deliberately misspelling Vertrieb (distribution), in order to take on the meaning of Vertreibung (expulsion – as in ... from a consumer's paradise) as a deconstructive means of processive disturbation. Also Vertreib is the second half of the German word Zeitvertreib (pastime, diversion). It also recurs to one of Duchamp's explanations of Readymades as pastimes attempting the disposal of art.) in the 1990s as an undertaking for ‘Beleuchtungskörperbau’. Building upon the Readymade principle of his 1980s design-critical artworks, he follows a modular construction principle, relying almost entirely on pre-existing standard industrial components, that he describes as ‘liberated from design’." (in: Vitra Design Museum: Atlas of Furniture Design, Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2019, on CONSUMER'S REST Lounge Chair by Stiletto (Stiletto Studio,s), page 726)
  9. ^ tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE on neoist interpassivity and Florian Cramer's relationship to neoism in a book review of Florian Cramer's book publication "Anti-Media." http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/Book2013Anti-Media.html
  10. ^ QRT [de]:Handelskunst mit Angebots-Sondermüll (special waste offer), announcement and short review of the sales exhibition LESS function IS MORE fun as part of the Spätverkauf project by the artist group Funny Farm (Laura Kikauka and Gordon Monahan) at the Kiosk of the Volksbühne Berlin. (in (030) Magazin, No. 25/1995, [030] Media Verlag, Berlin, December 1995).
  11. ^ "Schmeiß deinen Geschmack weg . . . - WELT". 16 November 2011.
  12. ^ http://archiv.tagesspiegel.de/archiv/18.09.2000/ak-be-st-12499.html
  13. ^ "Bauhütte Gemütlichkeit Schmalzwald".
  14. ^ Goddard, Peter (6 August 2007). "Funny Farm fest seriously strange | The Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 13 July 2018.

External links[edit]